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Here, where the tweets turn into pearls by Andrew Paul Woolbright at Yellow Peril
As representations of figures transformed into monsters of love, Shrinebeasts utilize bathos, heroic history painting, and the visual language of romanticism as guidance to engineer a reality that reexamines a previous time through alternate reality.
Our current reality creates ghosts and monsters. Capitalism and collapse are entangling forces that create refugees and uncanny interactions of symbiosis and competition. Similarly, these forces of strange accumulation, exhaustion, and exchange are playing themselves out within our romantic relationships and sexuality. Relationships inform our identity, and a link can be drawn from our culture's sexual pathologies into tribalism and political instability (for instance in the alt-right's adoption of the word "cuck").
"With the understanding that our personal relationships can translate into political power, I am interested in the generative "tentacular thinking" in our sexual relationships and the web of interactions and identities that are inseparable from our own," Woolbright explains, referring to Donna Haraway usage of the term sympoiesis in her book Staying with the Trouble, a term for the recognition of our mutual reliance and symbiotic relationships across species and ecologies for our survival of the anthropocene. "Like the jellyfish's long tendrils that sink ships in the waters unnaturally warmed by climate change," he stresses, "the Shrinebeasts entangle each other with vomited pearls and shake themselves with bio-luminescent roses, peonies, and lilies."
For the work in Here, where the tweets turn into pearls, Woolbright will present symbols associated with flight and desire. Ladders lead up and out, locating the Shrinebeasts in bunkers and bomb shelters. In a lecture he gave on OOO, Graham Harman remarked that the graffiti on the side of a nuclear bomb serves no purpose – but Woolbright disagrees.
"I saw a man wearing a shirt in Las Vegas that said "Surf the Doom," he shares. "I find the aesthetics of our survival, both in politics and within our damaged planet, incredibly pleasurable, hopeful, and significant. The graffiti on the bomb is life itself, choosing and learning how to live and thrive during trouble," he asserts. "I imagine the bombshelter of these two lovers as a holodeck of possibilities, projecting the skies of romantic paintings behind them and allowing them to simulate and perform the heroic archetypes of history painting."
Lately, Woolbright has been rethinking the situation of painting, trying to make something that is ambitious and sincere while reconciling a romantic project with our current reality. "For "for every tweet a pearl," I wanted to create a large, unstretched painting to be installed on the central wall of the gallery," he reveals. "I have been thinking about a return to painting's initial presentation as installed works while also interpreting it through the nomadic imperative I feel. It is an attempt at a movable mural, one that can be rolled up easily and stay on the move. It is so strange but natural to be so politically motivated while maintaining an artistic practice; to sublimate passion and political disappointment into a romantic project. For every frustration, a love letter; for every tweet, a pearl."
The opening reception for Here, where the tweets turn into pearls at Yellow Peril is Saturday, August 26, from 6PM – 9PM. The exhibition will conclude October 14. This is Andrew Paul Woolbright's second solo exhibition at Yellow Peril. His first solo exhibition was ShrineBeast in 2014. Woolbright was Guest Curator of Take only what you can carry with you, a group exhibition featuring contemporary artists from the Hudson Valley affiliated with Karst & Gorse in Wappingers Falls, New York.
About Andrew Paul Woolbright
ANDREW PAUL WOOLBRIGHT earned his MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. Woolbright examines his subjects in a transitional moment. He depicts the contours, imperfections, and beauty distinct to an individual face by gradating the color and dripping the paint. Portraying many of his subjects with closed eyes or a downward-cast gaze, the viewer is directed to an uncommon, yet gratifying viewpoint. For more info about Woolbright, visit andrewwoolbright.com.